The Very Surprising History of Jewish Women in Comic Books

272646_147053512036600_8128239_oJewish creators like Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (creators of Superman) and Art Spiegelman (of Maus) have had a strong influence on comics, but not so much attention has been turned on female Jewish comics creators. After Michael Kaminer  wrote a piece on Jewish women’s comics for The Jewish Daily Forward, Sarah Lightman reached out to him about making a museum exhibit of female Jewish comics creators.

The result was “Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women.” The exhibit, which is currently in London, shows the work of 18 Jewish women, including Lightman, Miriam Katin, Ariel Schrag, Trina Robbins, Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Vanessa Davis.

The success of the exhibit has led to the recently released book Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews (McFarland $49.95), which Lightman had previously discussed with Lilith. This anthological book takes an academic approach to the intersection of women, Judaism and comics. All the women from the exhibit take an important place in these pages through biographies and work samples, including beautiful full-color spreads. Some of them are interviewed about their work, and essays by other comics scholars discuss the meaning, influence and strength in the creators’ comics. However, the book does not stop here: it also details the lives and works of other female Jewish comics creators.